Friday, October 21, 2016

Shaw's Black-backed Snake, Erythrolamprus melanotus nesos (Family Dipsadidae)

Other common names: Beh belle chemin (=beauty of the road), squirrel snake; on Tobago: doctor snake.
Size: 604 mm SVL, 150 mm tail. Rostral visible from above; nasal divided; one preocular, loreal small and single; two postoculars; seven to eight upper labials; seven to nine lower labials; ventrals 142−156; cloacal plate divided; 54−63 paired subcaudals. Dorsal scales smooth, contain one apical pit, and are in 17 rows that reduce to 15 posteriorly.  Similar Species: the only snake in Trinidad and Tobago with a broad black dorsal stripe five scales wide bordered with yellow or salmon on the sides; head usually olive-brown or black. Endemic to Trinidad and Tobago. A forest snake that is closely associated with streams and ponds, uses cacao plantations and other disturbed habitats. Diurnal. Diet includes small vertebrates, mostly frogs (Engystomops pustulosus, Pristimantis urichi) tadpoles, and lizards (Bachia trinitatis, Gonatodes vittatus). Clutches of 2−10 eggs have been reported between January and August.

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